Arab countries move toward endorsing no-fly zone over Libya

Arab countries are moving toward approving a no-fly-zone over Libya to stop the Qadhafi regime's air strikes on its opponents, said Arab diplomats on Friday.

The diplomats told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the emergency meeting for Arab foreign ministers on Saturday will produce official support for the international decision, despite objections from some Arab countries.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that any military action taken by NATO in Libya must respect three conditions. "Firstly, there must be a demonstrable need. Secondly, there must be a clear legal basis. And thirdly, a strong regional support."

The Arab diplomats pointed out that the United Arab Emirates presented a draft resolution endorsing a no-fly zone. The draft resolution will be discussed during an emergency meeting of Arab countries called by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). 

The diplomats said that the resolution has strong Saudi support, the support of all GCC countries and is also backed by a number of other Arab countries. 

Diplomats involved in ongoing discussions expected objections from Syria, Algeria and Mauritania, but pointed to the possibility of passing the resolution through a majority rather than a unanimous vote, as is usually the case with major decisions made by the Arab League.

Saudi Arabia appears to be ready to participate in efforts to impose the no-fly zone if need be, according to the diplomats. Its delegation to the Arab League is trying to secure a consensus of Arab countries on the issue, but said that Saudi Arabia may participate on its own if a consensus is not reached. 

The League has already suspended Qadhafi's regime from its meetings, condemned violations against the Libyan people and called for an end to military campaigns against civilians. 

Meanwhile, members of the Libyan opposition sent a delegation to the Arab League and it is currently in Cairo to participate in the emergency meeting of foreign affairs ministers.

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